Feature: Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui: Dreams Of Babel

Tuesday 5 October 2010

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui: Dreams Of Babel
DVD – released August 2010.

DVD: 'Reves de Babel' Rêves de babel [Dreams of babel] gives fascinating insights into the creative world of choreographer and performer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. The one hour film, directed by Don Kent, includes interviews with Cherkaoui as he works on different projects in China, India, Corsica and in his home town Antwerp, Belgium. He talks fluently on many subjects – but in particular about his passion for dance, movement and song, his interest in spirituality, his homosexuality, his childhood and his family.

At the beginning, Cherkaoui says everything he does is about ‘exchange’ and the film shows how collaboration and learning is crucial in his work . He’s shown dancing with Kuchipudi dancer S*hantala Shivalingappa* and flamenco artist Maria Pages – and singing with Patrizia Bovi the Italian medieval music specialist, who worked with him on *Myth,* _and a Corsican traditional singing group, A Filetta. The film also shows him deep in the creation process with the Shaolin Monks in China on Sutra, the acclaimed 2008 production which also involved visual artist Antony Gormley. The monks aren’t often seen in interview, so it is revealing to hear and see them confirm that this really has been a mutually beneficial collaboration: _“We are very happy to have him in Shaolin. His work offers a new take on Buddhist Theatre. A Westerner’s point of view on martial arts is of great interest to us.” All this seems light years away from the clips of Cherkaoui in a 1980’s Belgian TV pop show – which was the start of his career in dance.

The film features many extracts of his work – Ook (2002) – with Theater Stap; IT (2002) with Wim van de Keybus; Foi (2003); Tempus Fugit & In Memoriam (2004); Myth & Apocrifu (2007) – as well as Sutra – and of course, Babel (2010). The only surprising omission is zero degrees – his 2005 collaboration with Akram Khan, Nitin Sawhney and Antony Gormley – but that is also available in full on DVD.

Available to buy in person from Sadler’s Wells shop for £23*
available online on amazon

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